According to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the European Union has to reform its members and governance to take a more united stand amid disagreements over trade with the United States.
In an all-encompassing speech on Germany’s future European policy, Heiko has stated that President Donald Trump’s office created a whole new set of challenges for Europeans, adding that the EU should react “robustly” when the US questions its values and interests.
“We Europeans have to act as a conscious counterweight when the US crosses red lines. Where the US government aggressively throws into question our values and interests, we have to react more robustly,” he said.
As for the challenges posed by the Trump administration, Maas named the withdrawal from the Paris climate deal, as well as Washington’s pullout from the Iran nuclear deal, potential secondary sanctions against European partners and protectionist policies.
The Foreign Minister went on to say that the 28-member bloc needed a “rebalanced” relationship with Washington, dismissing Trump’s “egoistical policy of America First.”
Maas’s remarks came shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to Trump’s claims of a huge trade deficit with the EU, highlighting that trade calculations were outdated after Trump took to Twitter to blast other countries making “massive trade surpluses,” while the US had a $800 billion trade deficit.”
“Trade surpluses are still calculated in a pretty old-fashioned way, based only on goods. But if you include services in the trade balance, the US has a big surplus with Europe,” she said.
Over the weekend, the president had strong disagreements with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders ahead of and during the G7 summit, repeatedly accusing allies of putting “massive tariffs” on American goods.
World leaders have been struggling to deal with Trump’s new policies on trade, since he announced the introduction of a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico. According to media reports, Trump has also considered imposing a 25 percent import tax on European cars, forcing German luxury carmakers out of the US market.
The President of the European Comission, Jean-Claude Juncker, dismissed the tariffs as totally unacceptable, vowing to introduce countermeasures.